Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy days…

Happy JULY!!  

Things making me smile today;

  1. My son is home for his uni break. Even though this means I have to relinquish control over the TV remote and endure hours of watching sport, plus my food bill has quadrupled, I’m so happy he’s here. Even better, he’s thinking of coming to live back in Auckland at the end of the year when he’s finished his degree. 🙂 Colour me completely delighted.

 

2.     We have a new project! ZsuI9puGQ2yXbh6vPGMe2AOur garden is shabby and tired so we’re redesigning it into flower beds, a mosaic and fire pit! It’s so fun to be out there in the fresh air and getting our hands dirty! We sprayed our lawn a while ago and tried to kill it off (to make hoeing easier) and then a few weekends ago we hired a rotary hoe and dug over the lawn…that was ‘interesting’ in howling gales and heavy rain… and now we’re busily putting in irrigation, landscaping, finding new flowers/plants we love and generally playing! Watch this space for pictures of the new garden in a few months…

3.     It’s conference time! new york cityscape, tourism concept photographIn 3 weeks I’ll be flying off to New York for the Romance Writers’ of America conference and catching up with some of the other Medical Romance authors! Then I’m heading off to New Orleans with a couple of friends for a road trip from NO to Houston. So currently I’m all about the packing…which shoes to take? (currently I have too many pairs under consideration and none of them are right). What dress to wear to the Harlequin Party, vintage theme (no idea). Do I have a handbag that will go with each outfit (no). So many decisions (and a little shopping too i think). I can not wait.

4.       I have a new release! Just under a year ago the M&B editors approached the lovely Sue MacKay and I about writing a duet based on a rescue ship. We’ve written a couple of duets before and I love working with Sue so we immediately said yes and started planning! It is a totally new setting for us to write about so there was a lot of research and discussion involved. We fleshed out the story arc while at the RWNZ conference. We were sharing a room and many hours were spent chatting and plotting. Even as we were falling asleep, one of us would sit up and say something like… ‘Wait… what if they were… …. or what if they did this…? Then the other (almost asleep one of us) would sit up too and start taking notes. It was so great to be able to nut out the storyline while we were with each other instead of emailing back and forth (although that did happen a lot too, once conference was finished!). The duet is about two young adversaries who meet up years later with the memories of a fateful and fatal incident still haunting them.

So now our books are available and I’m so pleased with the way they turned out.

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Aren’t they lovely? Here are the blurbs…

Saved By Their One-Night Baby

Can a shock baby…redeem this damaged doctor?

The last person paediatrician Ethan Reid expects to see on board the rescue boat during his latest humanitarian mission is nurse Claire Durand. The woman he shared an electrifying, anonymous encounter with is now his newest colleague! Life’s taught Ethan to keep everyone at arm’s length, but Claire’s bombshell changes everything. Because Ethan’s no longer alone – Claire’s pregnant, with his baby!

Redeeming Her Brooding Surgeon

He couldn’t save his friend…can she save his bruised heart?

Haunted by the fact he couldn’t save his best friend, brooding surgeon Chase Barrington dedicates himself to saving lives. He won’t get close to anyone again, but is blindsided by a passionate kiss with stunning ex-army doc Kristina Morton. Suddenly Chase is on a rollercoaster of emotions, but can he leave the past behind and embrace a future with Kristina?

What’s making you smile today?

 

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

I should be writing but…

GAME OF THRONES (No spoilers)

That last episode…OMG! Amazing. Powerful. Intense. Dark.

Very dark. Dark as in… can’t actually see what is happening dark. Nothing, except for blurry figures and brilliant music.

Game-of-Thrones-meme

Hubby is away and I can’t get my phone app (for the streaming) to talk to my TV so I’m curled up on the sofa in a fetal position screaming into the pitch dark at my phone. It’s so intense I can’t breathe. (Well, obviously I can but…) WOW.

As an aside…How can he have gone away and left me with NO WINE?

And a TV that won’t talk to my phone.

He won’t know if I eat all his wine gums and then replace the box, will he? What??? He’s EATEN all the wine gums?!?!?!?!?? And left the empty box on the shelf?!?!?!?

Hmmm. Is this a test??

I should be writing but…

fullsizeoutput_3934I found this adorable fabric and needed to make a skirt.  NEEDED I tell you.

Llamas beat writing…yes?

 

 

 

 

I should be writing but…

My desk was too messy!

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I should be writing marketing…

Something-Blue-Kindle

Book 5 in my non-medical romance Something Borrowed series is out on Tuesday (that’s tomorrow, folks!). I should be marketing, right?

Okay, I’ll get down to it, once I’ve put away the sewing machine and got back from the shop with the wine and the wine gums….

 

 

 

 

Something Blue Blurb:

She’s the zen yoga teacher. His preferred exercise is with odd-shaped balls. But when these two opposites work together to heal his rugby injury there’s a lot more going on than yoga therapy.

Saskia Hall is finally in a good space. She’s put her bad relationships and nomadic life behind her and is concentrating on putting down roots by means of a business, a mortgage and a home in Portobello, London.

Josh Daly’s contract with the London Blues is coming to an end and he’s finally heading back to New Zealand to be with his four year old son. But when his feelings for his yoga teacher turn to something much deeper than he wants or needs, he’s torn. Is this just a fling? Or can he persuade Saskia to take a chance on him and a new life far away… forever?

Available at all good ebook stores!

What should you be doing, and what are you doing instead? (come on, I can’t be the only one who likes to procrastinate)

 

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A trip to the mothership… Jane Austen’s house

Pretty much every romance reader and writer I’ve ever met has read at least one of Jane Austen’s books (or seen the movies/TV shows) and every one has their own opinion of them. I read most of them years ago and loved them (on the whole 😉 ), she had a sharp wit and a keen take on societal mores of the time.

I know little about her life, though, and am always interested in finding out people’s backstory (yeah, okay, I’m nosy!!), so on a recent flying visit to England I took a trip with my sister to the Jane Austen Museum in Chawton.  Jane lived there from 1809 to 1817, just before she died at the young age of 41 of an unspecified illness (although researchers in the 1960s think it may have been a form of lymphoma). She wrote Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park here.

1jwp2d5esceu5w0bt5kbcg.jpgThe house belonged to her brother and she lived in it with her mother and beloved sister, Cassandra while her brother lived a short distance away on the Chawton Estate that he inherited from a wealthy family that adopted him (strange but true!).  Her bedroom was the one with the window with closed blinds, middle right!  It was so cool to walk where she’d walked, and wander round the garden in her footsteps.

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The back door (and my lovely sister!)
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Jane’s writing desk! A 12 sided walnut table

Thank God for computers! I would not like to do my daily words using a quill like Jane did.

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Jane’s quilt

I love using fabrics and yarns and have made my own quilt, but it was nothing as grand as the one Jane, her sister and her mother made!

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Beautiful shawl Jane embroidered when not working on her novels

Jane’s garden wasn’t extensive but it was well used for growing food, flowers and plants for many medicinal and other uses…

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They grew plants to dye their clothes (I love that quote- “what wicked people Dyers are. They begin dipping their own souls in Scarlet sin” )

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The neighbours – look at the thatch owl art!

It was wonderful to slip back a couple of centuries for a few hours. Chawton is in the middle of nowhere, a beautiful village of thatched houses, a pub and a tea shop. I wonder what she’d think of our world? I’m sure she’d be happy to have a proper English ‘tea’ and prosecco!

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Are you a Jane fan? Do you like to visit famous people’s houses? If so, where have you visited and what did you think?

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

2019 Reading goals?

Happy 2019!

All of us here at the LIBM blog hope you had a smashing Christmas and very happy new year celebrations!

Hot mulled wine and book in woman hands. Relaxing in front of bu

I’m back at the desk now hoping to write up a storm as I’ve a hectic publishing schedule this year. But I’m also hoping to read more this year too.  I am a sucker for medical romances (any romances at all to be honest) but this year I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and read out of my comfort zone. Along with my weekly diet of all things love I have some other genres to try (any suggestions for any of the categories gratefully received):

Autobiography/memoir – my son bought me Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming

Science and technology – hopefully something that I can use in a medical romance!

Graphic novels/comic

History/Biography – I have a book about the Russian royal family, the Romanovs (who knows, a Russian doctor may be on the cards!)

Mystery 

Humour

Science Fiction

Non fiction

Young Adult – can’t possibly read anything but the Extinction Trial books by our very own Scarlet/Susan Wilson!!

Historical Fiction

Fantasy

What about you? Do you have any reading goals for 2019? Can I suggest a couple? (Gives a cheeky wink…)

  • Read all 6 new medical romance releases each month?
  • If you already do the (AND THANK YOU MUCHLY IF YOU DO!!) then how about: read a non-medical romance book by one of your favourite medical author/s (many of us write in other genres too. For more details look at our individual websites)

Happy reading!!

Oh, and I should probably let you know I have a new medical romance out, right now!

A Nurse to Heal His Heart by Louisa George

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She makes him feel alive again. But can he heal her heart too?

Single dad GP Joe Thompson’s priorities are his daughter and his patients. It might’ve earned him a brooding reputation, but since losing his wife romance has been off-limits…until he meets locum nurse Rose McIntyre! Her warm smile and live-for-the-moment attitude soothe a pain Joe believed would never fade. But can Joe stop Rose running from her own secrets…and find comfort in his arms?

I loved writing this book and it has all the feels and a little bit of quirky ?magic? Fate?

I’m so glad my editor encouraged me to go off on my weird tangent! I hope you love it too.

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Wedding anniversaries

1ST YEAR: Paper
2ND YEAR: Cotton
3RD YEAR: Leather
4TH YEAR: Fruit & Flowers, or Linen & Silk
5TH YEAR: Wood
6TH YEAR: Iron / Candy
7TH YEAR: Wool/ Copper
9TH YEAR: Pottery
10TH YEAR: Tin/ Aluminum
11TH YEAR: Steel
12TH YEAR: Silk
13TH YEAR: Lace
14TH YEAR: Ivory
15TH YEAR: Crystal
20TH YEAR: China
25TH YEAR: Silver
30TH YEAR: Pearl
35TH YEAR: Coral
40TH YEAR: Ruby
45TH YEAR: Sapphire
50TH YEAR: Gold
55TH YEAR: Emerald
60TH YEAR: Diamond

Two golden wedding rings with heart bokeh on background

Celebrations are all around at the moment! I was at a 10th wedding anniversary party last night and I know a couple celebrating 23 years on the 5th, another couple clocking up 28 years on the 13th. November seems to be a month of anniversaries for me and my friends, which is a little surprising given that when I got married (19th November) in England it was winter and cold and not necessarily a month you’d choose to celebrate your special day. But, intrepid people that we are (LOL), we decided to brave the cold and dark afternoons and 25 years ago we signed on the dotted line. Then we went to Scotland for our honeymoon. SNOW! We married on a budget so I don’t have any glossy photos, just a few snapshots from friends, but I look at them now and can’t believe how young we look!

fullsizeoutput_381aIt honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, it seems like only yesterday when we were standing in that register office promising a lifetime of love

Because we had such an amazing trip to Europe earlier this year, and currently have no family with us, we won’t be having a huge celebration, so we’ve booked a couple of nights on Waiheke island (a short ferry ride from where we live), and a long lunch at our favourite vineyard. Quite fitting as, judging by this picture, I have loved not only him, but wine for many years!

 

 

fullsizeoutput_381bAnyway… call me materialistic but I’m pretty happy we’ve finally got down to the interesting gifts part of marriage. Silver sounds a lot more me than leather or steel. Iron, I have to confess, sounds too domestic and I’m really not happy about ivory. And fruit????? To celebrate 4 years? Who thought up these things?

Silver on the other hand… I really hope that after 25 years he knows me well enough that silver with a diamond always works! I’ll let you know!

Any celebrations or milestones coming up for you? Do share so we can all celebrate with you.

Talking of milestones, I never told you about Book 4 in my (not medical romance) Something Borrowed series which came out in September. It’s a standalone story, which means you don’t need to have read the other books in the series to understand the storyline. It has a divine cover, don’t you think?

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Here’s the blurb:

After being scammed by her own boyfriend Katriona Croft is big on honesty and loyalty. No way will she ever fall again for some two-bit scammer with a pretty face. But when Gabe Cassidy arrives in Portobello with a story about secrets and lies, and touting the sexiest smile she’s ever seen, all her resolve is blown apart and her loyalty to her best friend is sorely tested.

All his life Gabe’s mantra has been that being alone is better than being broken. But when he overhears a conversation in a pub his life is tipped upside down and instead of being alone he finds himself very much in the middle of a big family feud. Kat Croft seems to be the key to fixing it all, but any alone time with her makes things even more complicated… But can Gabe convince the woman who has lost all trust to take a chance on sharing a whole lot more than secrets?

Available from all good e-book stores!

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Podcasts…yes or no?

Do you listen to podcasts?

I’ve always been a big fan of listening to the radio when I’m driving around town etc, but lately I’ve gotten into podcasts.

What I love about them is that, unlike an audio book, you can dip in and out of subject matter depending on what you feel like, you can listen to something fun/educational/serious/intelligent/frivolous…

My go to ones are usually related to the writing business (Self Publishing Formula, SPA girls, Joanna Penn) and I find them absolutely fascinating and essential listening and learning, but I’ve also used one to help me get to sleep (although it didn’t work very well so I won’t give details here!!!).

The Food Programme (BBC Radio 4) is fascinating- all about the development and history of food and then there’s a selection of meditations, hiking stories, parenting, book clubs, short stories, poems, reviews and my husband was listening to one yesterday about murder (should I be worried?). So many to choose from!! I love that there’s something for every taste and every mood.

There are too many to choose from, so I’d love to hear any recommendations….do you listen to podcasts? Which ones?

[My most recent medical romance doesn’t feature any podcasts, but is Reunited By Their Secret Son  Mills and Boon  Amazon US Amazon UK]
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Reunited By Their Secret Son

Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Ciao! Sdrazvouchez!

This blog is coming to you from my big trip that has visited Canada, UK, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy…where I am now. I have another few days here then a two week tour in Russia and a stopover in Shanghai. I am so very, very lucky…although it will be nice to sleep in my own bed! My husband had a well-earned sabbatical, so we took advantage, but it does mean I have sporadic access to the internet so, forgive me, I have uploaded this early and may not get to answer all your comments immediately.

I wanted to share with you my new medical romance REUNITED BY THEIR SECRET SON which is now available on wide release. The eagle-eyed ones amongst you will recognise Finn as Callum Baird’s brother in THE NURSE’S SPECIAL DELIVERY (released December 2017). So, if you remember reading about Finn’s accident that claimed his leg and almost his life and you got to wondering how he was doing, well…here’s your chance to find out.

Reunited By Their Secret Son

It started with one night…

Will it end with them becoming a family?

Sophie can never forget her sizzling encounter with gorgeous stranger Finn. How can she, when her beloved little boy’s a daily reminder? And she can’t forgive Finn for disappearing without a trace afterwards. But she’s shocked to come face-to-face with him at her son’s physio appointment, and sees how much he’s changed… Could this be their chance to finally become a family?

EXCERPT BEGINS:

CHAPTER ONE

He was late.

Finn Baird was never late—not any more. These days he always gave himself extra time to navigate the traffic, negotiate the car park and be in his clinic with plenty of minutes to spare. Mainly so he could both impress the boss and be mentally prepared for the day. But also so he could make readjustments to his leg before he started work.

He just hadn’t anticipated the readjustments would take so long today. Or hurt so damned much.

Which was more than a little irritating because now he was rushing, and the more he rushed the slower he seemed to get, not to mention the more frustrated.

Two months into his new job as paediatric physiotherapist at St Margaret’s Children’s Hospital—Maggie’s to the locals—and he’d made sure he had a reputation for having all the time in the world for his patients. Hell, they deserved it. A lot of them had challenges worse than his and most of them grinned their way through treatment. Through all the pulling and pushing and straightening and bending he made them do, through all the pain, through all the mind-numbingly repetitive exercises, he tried to make them laugh. Tried to make them believe they could achieve anything if they tried.

He definitely needed to take a leaf out of their books.

Trying to smile and hurry along the corridor while gritting his teeth against the pain, he reached the reception area at the same time his boss did. Neither of them looked at their watches. Neither of them acknowledged Finn was late.

And hell, if that was preferential treatment he didn’t want it. ‘Sorry I’m late, Ross. Won’t happen again.’

‘Good morning, Finn. Don’t worry; I know you’ll make it up.’ Ross Andrews, Head of Physiotherapy, threw a pile of paper folders onto the reception desk and looked up. ‘You always stay later than everyone else anyway.’

Because he needed to stay on top of everything. Needed this job to work out, and everything took longer these days. ‘Just want to get the job done properly.’

‘And you do. So you’re forgiven for being a few minutes behind. Great run yesterday. Feeling it a bit today? I certainly am. I think I twinged my back.’ Ross put his palms on the small of his back and stretched backwards. ‘I’ve got to fix that overpronation.’

‘You want me to take a look?’

‘Later, if we get a chance. One of the perks of being a physio, eh? Treatment on tap. I’m so impressed with your race time, Finn—you did great. Really great.’

The minutes were ticking by but Finn could hardly snap at the boss and head off to his first patient, so he took a deep breath and promised himself he’d be doubly efficient today without hurrying the littlies.

‘Let’s be honest—I ran a woeful time. I’m just glad I made it to the finish line.’ There had been a time when he’d completed the ten-mile Great Edinburgh Run in under an hour; this time he’d been lucky—and utterly exhausted and hurting on both his good leg and his gone one—to finish half the distance in the same time. He rubbed his left thigh, still sore and tight, but nowhere near as painful as just below his knee where the stitches had been and where the friction was always most intense. ‘Still, I stayed upright—that was a bonus. I’m aiming for a faster time next year.’

‘Don’t push yourself too hard—you’ll get there. You just need a little incentive…if you know what I mean. Someone to run towards.’ Ross’s eyes grew wider as he nodded.

Finn grinned, remembering seeing Ross overtake him on the home straight, having run twice the distance, right into the arms of his new wife. She’d been so proud of him even Finn hadn’t been able to stop smiling as she cheered and screamed her husband’s name as he went over the finishing line. And then there’d been the kisses; the poor man had barely been able to catch breath.

‘A special someone to cheer me on at the end, right? I’m going to be running a long, long way before that ever happens.’

His boss laughed. ‘Well, you’ll never have it if you don’t even ask a lassie out. Greta’s sister said to drop a huge hint about a double date. She’s single too—?’

Ugh. Not another date set-up. He was starting to regret getting to know his boss a little better out of work. Seemed Finn was surrounded by loved-up couples these days who wanted him to have a piece of the happiness they had. If it wasn’t Ross and Greta it was his brother Callum and his new family down in New Zealand dropping hints at every available opportunity about seeing him paired up. The thing none of them understood—or downright ignored—was the issue of his leg. Or lack of it. If he’d struggled to come to terms with it, then what chance did any woman have? How could he give them what they wanted? ‘Thanks, but no. Really, no.’

Ross shook his head, undeterred as a matchmaker. ‘I never understood why you turned down lovely Julia, the Pilates instructor. Or Molly-Rae from the café…she was definitely dropping big hints to go for a drink. Even I could see that.’

Finn dug deep to keep polite. He dredged up a smile. ‘I mean it, boss. No.’

‘Or there’s the speed dating night every Thursday at the Tavern?’ Ross shrugged. ‘A bit lame, I know. But it’s always a laugh. I went there a few times before I met Greta. As you know, we met at salsa night—oh. Well…Yes…’ He glanced at Finn’s leg and shrugged again. ‘If you can run, you can dance.’

Dancing was a whole lot more than just moving forward in a straight line. ‘Really. I’m fine. Thanks. I’m not looking for anyone. Please tell the lovely Greta I’m fine on my own.’

Even as he said it he knew it sounded hollow. But there it was. Before the accident, Finn had taken his looks and raw physicality for granted and enjoyed them, celebrated them with the best and the most beautiful women he could find. He’d paraded around like a prize chump, all cocky and sure of himself, a peacock on show. He’d had a host of women who’d wanted what he’d wanted: a night of fun and drink and mindless sex. Then his charmed life had started to unravel and the last thing he’d wanted was to attempt dating again. Couldn’t do it, but it didn’t stop them asking. Or his friends trying to set him up.

Most of those women were a blur to him now. All except one…the one who’d not got away, not exactly. The one he’d purposefully let go after he’d fallen from grace, fallen from a great bloody height and broken both his dreams and his body.

Now? He didn’t need anyone. Didn’t want anyone. Didn’t want anyone to see him like this, not after who he’d been before. Not after he’d changed so damned much he was barely recognisable inside or out. ‘If I change my mind, Ross, you’ll be the first to know.’

‘Aye, well, I was like you once—thought I was better off being a lad—but there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to settle down. Get serious.’

‘I’ve a long way before I go to those extremes.’ Finn laughed. ‘I’m pretty serious about myself these days and that’s about all I can manage for now.’ He’d had to relearn how to do pretty much everything and was still learning. He changed the subject, jumping into work as always. Because work made him focus on the possible, not the impossible, like having a woman who even liked the look of him, let alone could fall for him and see a future. ‘I’m going to be running very late, so I need to get on. Who’ve we got today?’

‘Some regular follow-ups from your predecessor and a couple of new referrals. Nothing too taxing. You’re doing just fine. Don’t rush. They’ll understand.’ Ross looked meaningfully again at Finn’s left leg.

‘I prefer it if the leg doesn’t come up in conversation.’ Finn whipped round to peer at the computer for details of his first client, twisting his leg in the prosthetic. A searing pain ran up his knee. He inhaled sharply, clenched his teeth and waited for the pain to subside. ‘Okay. Okay. Let’s go.’

‘You all right? You need a seat?’ Reaching out to steady Finn, Ross peered at him, all concern and questions.

Damn. The last thing he needed was a father figure…scratch that, a brother figure. He already had one of those and even twelve thousand miles away he still managed to be overbearing and overly concerned about Finn’s welfare. All. The. Time.

The whole point of taking this job and being this new person in a new city, putting the past well and truly behind him, was to live a normal life. He didn’t want people to keep asking if he was all right. And yes, he knew they cared and were just being nice. But he didn’t want to be treated any differently to everyone else.

He counted to ten under his breath as the pain faded. ‘Yep. I’m fine. But even after more than two years I keep forgetting.’ And it wasn’t just the physical pain that assailed him, sometimes out of nowhere. ‘Still, I’m good to go. And now I’m really late.’

 

Four hours later and his leg was no better, neither was his mood, although the kids always made him smile. A missed appointment meant he could catch up. All he had to do now was finish these notes and then he could lock his door, slip off his prosthesis and the silicone liner and relax for a few minutes.

As he sat in his office—the closest to Reception so he wouldn’t have to walk far, apparently—he heard a kerfuffle in the waiting area.

A woman’s voice, soft and apologetic. Breathless. ‘I’m so, so late. I’m sorry. Really sorry. Lachie had a meltdown at home which delayed things a bit…you know what it’s like…he’s hit the terrible twos six months early. Then I couldn’t get a parking space and then there was something wrong with the pushchair—I think it might be one of the front wheels; it’s wanting to go in the opposite direction to all the others.’

The talking stopped. Finn assumed it was for the woman to draw breath. He heard the receptionist sigh. Then that soft voice again. ‘I know you’re all busy. I’m so sorry. Please, if anyone could see us I’m happy to wait as long as it takes.’

Their receptionist was renowned for running a tight ship. ‘I’m sorry but we have a full list today and there’s no wriggle room to fit you in. I can make another appointment for Lachie?’

‘He really needs to be seen today. I know it’s not relevant, or shouldn’t be, but I’ve taken the day off work as holiday just so we could get here. I’m fast running out of holiday days…’ Desperation laced her words. ‘It’s his boots, you see—they’re rubbing and he hates wearing them. That was the trouble this morning—when I took them off after he’d worn them all night he threw them across the room.’ A pause. ‘Please.’

Finn stretched his left knee. Yeah, he knew all about rubbing. About the tension before you put the damned thing on because you just knew it was going to be sore. He knew how hard that was for a grown man to get his head round, never mind a…what did she say?…eighteen-month-old. He sent an urgent message to the receptionist’s screen.

I’ll see them. Just give me a few minutes to finish these notes.

A message flicked back: Thanks. The good karma fairy is looking down on you.

‘Okay. One of the physiotherapists will miss his lunch for you. Please take a seat.’

The softly spoken woman’s voice wavered. ‘Oh. That’s very kind. Thank you. Thank you. Lachie? The nice man will see you soon.’

Finn walked through to the waiting room and was just about to call out the boy’s name when he was struck completely dumb. His heart thudded against his ribcage as he watched the woman reading a story to her child. Her voice quiet and sing-song, dark hair tumbling over one shoulder, ivory skin. A gentle manner. Soft.

His brain rewound, flickering like an old film reel: dark curls on the pillow. Warm caramel eyes. A mouth that tasted so sweet. Laughter in the face of grief. One night.

That night…

A lifetime ago.

He snapped back to reality. He wasn’t that man any more; he’d do well to remember that. He cleared his throat and glanced down at the notes file in his hand to remind himself of the name. ‘Lachlan Harding?’

‘Yes. Yes—oh?’ She froze, completely taken aback. For a second he saw fear flicker across her eyes then she stood up. Fear? Why? Because he’d never called as he’d promised? ‘Finn? Is it you? It’s Finn, yes?’

There was little warmth there; her mouth was taut in a straight line. No laughter. Not at all. She was still startlingly pretty. Not a trace of make-up, but she didn’t need anything to make her any more beautiful. His gut clenched as he remembered more of that night and how good she’d made him feel.

Too bad, matey.

The fear gone, she smiled hesitantly and tugged the boy closer to her leg, her voice a little wobbly and a little less soft. ‘Wow. Finn, this is a surprise—’

‘Sophie. Hello. Yes, I’m Finn. Long time, no see.’ Glib, he knew, when there was so much he should say to explain what had happened, why he hadn’t called, but telling her his excuses during a professional consultation wasn’t the right time. Besides, she had a child now; she’d moved on from their one night together, clearly. He glanced at her left hand, the one that held her boy so close—no wedding ring. But that didn’t mean a thing these days; she could be happily unmarried and in a relationship.

And why her marital status pinged into his head he just didn’t know. He had no right to wonder after the silence he’d held for well over two years.

They were just two people who’d shared one night a long time ago. There was no professional line to cross here. He was doing her a favour by seeing her son. If things felt awkward he could always assign her to a different physiotherapist for the next appointment.

‘Yes. Wow. It’s a small world.’ He infused his manner with professionalism, choosing not to go down Memory Lane. He was a different man now. Although he couldn’t help but notice as he turned that his left leg was shaking a little more than usual. In fact, all of him was. It was surprise, that was all. His past life clashing with his present. He concentrated hard on being steady and not limping in front of her, because for some reason it mattered that she saw him as whole. ‘Right, then, so this is Lachie? Come on through.’

Good karma? No chance. Judging by the way Sophie was looking at him, the good karma fairy had gone on her lunch break.

EXCERPT ENDS